Return to Transcripts main page

ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Will G.M. Help Crash Victim Clear Her Name?; Deadly Secret?; Attorney: G.M. Ordered Parts Weeks Before Recall; Dozen of Students Murdered in Mexico; North Korea Releases Americans; Iraq ISIS Leader Al-Baghdadi Hit in Airstrikes?; New Video of Deadly Arizona Wildfire

Aired November 10, 2014 - 21:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


ANDERSON COOPER, AC360 HOST: An attorney who is suing G.M. claims he found a smoking gun e-mailed between the car maker and one of his part supplier had allegedly show the company was placing huge rush of orders of new ignition switches more than a month before the recall was announce. The smoking gun according to the attorney that suggest, Mary Barra knew about the problem much earlier than she submitted.

CNN Rene Marsh joins us now with the latest. So I know you have the e-mails you've could look at them. What exactly do they say? And why they just servicing now?

RENE MARSH, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, we do have the e-mails here several pages. And when you read them you really do get this sense of urgency. G.M. putting a rush order with an ignition switch supplier asking for half a million replacement parts. In one e-mail in here G.M. says it needs to start seeing shipments ASAP. In another e-mail G.M. is asking the supplier for a shipment plan, and that e-mail saying "Please get me something by 4:00 p.m." double exclamation point in the subject line of another e-mail here it reads, "field action urgent."

So you get the tone of these e-mails. They were once classified as confidential but they were later turnover as part of discovery in this class action litigation against the automaker and that's why their coming out now, Anderson.

COOPER: So in base on this question who knew what and when. Obviously it's already been examine on Capitol Hill. What a law makers saying about it?

MARSH: Well, an attorney for the victim point it out that not once did these e-mails come up during four Congressional hearing. Now, we just heard today from at least one law maker who's calling for G.M. CEO Mary Barra to return to Capitol Hill to answer why the rush order for parts was place to months before the company notify safety regulator that there was even a problem, Anderson.

COOPER: And what's G.M.'s response of all these?

MARSH: Well, the company is not pushing back really. Its spokesperson told CNN today that the e-mails confirm that the system that they have in place to identify or even investigate product flaws. It needs to be reformed. G.M. says that they made those changes, they've added investigators. They say they're moving issues much more quickly and they say their making decision with better data.

COOPER: All right, we'll see what happens. Thanks very much. As we said G.M.'s faulty ignition switches have been link at least 32 deaths including Michael Erickson a young father of two. He was killed in the crash happen years before the e-mail as you just heard about. And G.M. was even aware of the ignition problems. This death obviously devastated his family to say at least. In top of the grief, his girlfriend who was driving the car spent nearly a decade believing that she was in fact responsible for his death.

That's because General Motors never told her or Erickson's family that his death have been link to the ignition switch problem. And now G.M. isn't doing anything to help Erickson's former girlfriend clear her name. Here's CNN Poppy Harlow.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CANDICE ANDERSON, DRIVER OF 2004 SATURN ION THAT CRASHED: The past 10 years I had been in a form of a prison.

POPPY HARLOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Michael Erickson was Candace Anderson's first love.

ANDERSON: I can still hear his laugh, which is a big laughter.

HARLOW: And Rhonda Erickson's only child.

RHONDA ERICKSON, SON KILLED 2004 SATURN ION COLLISION: There's gifts on the wall that he gave me. There's -- he's everywhere in this house.

HARLOW: The father of two young daughters, Sierra and Savannah.

ERICKSON: He'll never walk them down the aisle. He'll never -- he can't go and see their ball games and their achievement.

HARLOW: November 15th 2004, everything changed.

Candice and her boyfriend Michael are in a major car crash. Candace is behind the wheel and is severely injured. Michael doesn't survive.

ANDERSON: I was through the windshield on the hood of the car and then his face was faced down on my lap.

HARLOW: Candice Anderson pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide. Only this year, a decade later, she learned it may not have been all her fault.

You were being prosecuted as a murderer. What did people in this town call you?

ANDERSON: I've been told a couple of times point black to my face that I was a murderer, that I killed him.

HARLOW: Candice could not have been prouder the day she bought her brand new 2004 Saturn Ion.

ANDERSON: It's this one right here.

HARLOW: This is the tree you hit?

Less than nine months later, it crashed on this East Texas country road.

ANDERSON: That was the day that my old life ended.

ERICKSON: Two police cars and a neighbor pulled up in my yard and you kind of know what that is, a mother does and it's just like your whole world crashes right there.

HARLOW: The police report says neither Candice nor Michael was wearing a seatbelt. The airbags did not deploy.

Do you ever have moments when you think, "Why did I survive?"

ANDERSON: Yeah, I thought that way the whole 10 years.

HARLOW: After the crash, Xanax was found in Candice's system. She was not prescribed the drug but said she took one pill the night before.

The police report says Candice's intoxication resulted in the accident.

ANDERSON: I did have a minimal amount of Xanax, that's not a question. Do I think I was intoxicated that day? No, I wasn't intoxicated.

HARLOW: But the authorities disagreed and she was indicted on a felony charge of intoxication manslaughter facing up to 20 years in prison. Later, she pleaded guilty to criminal negligent homicide, a felony and was sentenced to five years probation and fined.

But just this year, G.M. recalled millions of cars for a defective ignition switch which can suddenly turn the engine off while driving disabling the airbags, power steering and anti-lock breaks. Candice's 2004 Saturn Ion was one of those.

At least 32 people died as a result but G.M. didn't contact Rhonda or Candice.

What it a fluke that you found out that this is why son is dead?

ERICKSON: Pretty much.

HARLOW: After news of the recalls, Michael's mother contacted the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration who told her that her son is one of those deaths.

You may never have known.

ANDERSON: I don't believe I ever would've known. HARLOW: Did G.M. ever reached out to you? Did they ever tell you?

ANDERSON: I still haven't heard from them.

HARLOW: In fact, as this all dragged on for Candice Anderson, there is proof General Motors saw signs of the problem and didn't fix it.

In 2004, the same year as Candice's crash, G.M. engineers were investigating inadvertent ignition switch offs. But this internal investigation now shows G.M. didn't identify the problem as a safety issue and didn't fix it. They called it "a convenience issue".

In 2006, as Candice was indicted and faced 20 years in prison, G.M.'s own document show the defective switch was improved but those investigating the cause of the crashes weren't told about the changes delaying them for years from getting to the root of the problem and from recalling the cars they should have.

And in 2007, the same year Candice pleaded guilty to felony charges, G.M. did their own internal investigation into her crash calling it "unusual" and noted the airbags should have deployed. Like Candice and Michael's mother say, G.M. never told them.

Despite all these warning signs, G.M. didn't issue a recall for the defective switch until this year. While G.M. acknowledges widespread incompetence and neglect, the company says there was no cover up.

ANDERSON: I'm fighting for my justice. I want vindication. I want them to say, you know, I want people to know that it was the car and it wasn't me.

HARLOW: Peter Asplund is the state trooper who arrived at the scene of the crash. He filed intoxication manslaughter charges against Candice.

PETER ASPLUND, FORMER TEXAS STATE TROOPER: I think it's important not to gloss over any mistakes that were made or any wrong that might have been done. If a corporation withholds information and then that results in very unsafe conditions, that's terrible. But there was still an individual driving while intoxicated.

HARLOW: While Asplund says it would be his duty to file the same charges today, he believes Candice may not have even been prosecuted if they knew her car was defective.

ASPLUND: It may have changed everything for Candice and it may have changed everything for Michael.

HARLOW: And Candice has lived with immense guilt over Michael's death for nearly 10 years.

ANDERSON: My name is Candice Anderson and I'm a survivor of the G.M. ignition defect.

HARLOW: Now, her fight is to get that conviction off her record and she's got some in Washington on her side. SENATOR RICHARD BLUMENTHAL, (D) CONNECTICUT: Ms. Barra, will you recommend to the Governor of Texas that he pardoned Ms. Anderson?

MARY BARRA, CEO, GENERAL MOTORS: We will provide information to support that decision but I don't think it's in -- it's not something that I think is appropriate for me to do. I don't have all the facts to the case.

BLUMENTHAL: You know, with all due respect, that answer really is unworthy of G.M. I hope you'll think more about it because this is a young woman whose life has really been changed as a result of a perversion of the justice process, as a result of G.M. knowing and concealing that she was innocent.

HARLOW: Now, even the former district attorney who prosecuted Anderson is fighting for her. In a letter recommending a full pardon she writes, "It is my opinion that no action or omission of Ms. Anderson was the cause of the accident." She also writes, "If she had all the evidence from General Motors, she would have stopped the prosecution."

Last month GM's CEO Mary Barra reiterated to CNN that it is not her place to step in.

Do you believe Candice Anderson should be pardoned?

BARRA: That is something for the court to decide not for General Motors, they are I think are the right experts that have the full complete details. Those are the people who should be making that decision.

HARLOW: You don't think G.M. should weigh in at all?

BARRA: I do not.

HARLOW: Looking back, do you think someone at G.M. should have -- when they saw this happen and there was an internal investigation reached out to Candice Anderson?

BARRA: Yes. You'll look across this. We have, you know, making the right changes that we need to make with the learnings that we've had from the police report. We're working in to make sure where the industry leaders and safety as we moved forward and we're taking steps to do the right thing.

HARLOW: Every November 15th Candice Anderson comes here. There is no headstone yet. Rhonda Erickson hasn't been able to bring herself to lay one.

ERICKSON: It's not an easy task. It's like, you know, letting go of all the pieces.

HARLOW: G.M.'s CEO Mary Barra has apologized to victims and their families.

BARRA: I am deeply sorry. HARLOW: And a victim compensation fund has been set up. Candice and Rhonda have accepted a settlement from that fund it barriers them from suing G.M. over this crash in the future but that doesn't remove the felony from Candice's record.

She's now fighting for a pardon through the Texas Courts.

Do you think that some individuals of General Motor should be criminally prosecuted?

ANDERSON: I was, because of my negligence. I think that if a 21-year old girl is charged with negligent homicide and has to go to the motions that there should be someone held criminally responsible. I do. I do believe that.

HARLOW: Poppy Harlow, CNN, Canton, Texas.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: It's hard to imagine what she has been through, as well as the families and all those families involved.

Up next, a nightmare for the parents of dozens of college students in Mexico, why some of them refuse to believe that their kids missing now from more than a month were murdered by a crime ring that included drug that included drug traffickers of police chief even, a mayor and his wife.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: What's the story in Mexico that's almost too horrific to believe, dozens of college students missing and now found to be murdered by a crime collect that included drug traffickers, a politician and a police chief.

The details of what may have happen to all those college students are so brutal, it is not hard to understand why some parents are just can't believe it, won't believe it until they actually see a proof but that maybe hard to come by.

Rosa Flores explains why?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ROSA FLORES, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Deep in the hills of Southern Mexico, a force so terrible, the parents of the missing refuse to accept it.

Because it's really tough.

Carlo Hernandez's (ph) son is one of 43 college students who disappeared more than a month ago.

He said there on the day they went missing he would dial his son cell number and he never answered.

All 43 lives were abruptly interrupted by what authorities call and organize criminal ring.

The Attorney General said that the ring operated on the City Hall here in Iguala involving the mayor, his wife, the police chief and drug trafficker.

The students were on this highway headed of Iguala. They belong to an old male teachers college that's known for protesting against the government.

City Mayor Jose Luis Abarca didn't want them in town and order the police chief to stop the students according to authorities.

This is where the plot is thickens, the last place these 43 students were seeing alive. Now, walk with me. You see a makeshift memorial and I want to show you this wall because you can still see bullet holes which federal authority say could be possible clues of an ambush by local police who would later turn over students to a cartel.

And now another makeshift memorial, a t-shirt from the school and signs asking for help.

He said that he prays to God that his son is OK and that they're not being bitten or tortured.

Did the mayor and his wife order police to shot the students? Did they order them turned over to the cartel? Authorities aren't saying but four days after the students went missing, officials say Iguala's mayor and his wife went underground because investigators were eyeing them.

They evaded police for more than five weeks until.

Authority say the couple was hiding out to what describe as a working class but dangerous Mexico City neighborhood in this abandoned house. Authorities raided this house. They sealed the doors. You can see the signs are still here.

The arrests caught on cellphone video but the headlines didn't stop there.

Federal authorities say the three cartel members confess to driving up this road which leaves to a public damn for Cocula, a nearby city.

And they say that they were driving two trucks filled with about 40 people. Some of the people inside were dead, others were unconscious, the rest were alive.

Then federal authorities say that the bodies were dropped to the bottom of this pit and set on fire. Then they used fire wood, tires and diesel to keep the fire going.

Video confessions released by federal authorities revealed the remains were placed in plastic bag and taking to the San Juan River, where children play, adults gather water for everyday use.

And according to authority, the suspects came to this river and emptied out most of those black plastic bags except for one. That one was found sealed.

Jose Salinas, a federal police behind his home along the river bank and is skeptical.

I was asking about what authorities are saying that the bodies were dumped in this river.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No.

FLORES: He says that he never saw anything.

According to officials the remains are in advance state of decomposition and ID'ing them will be difficult.

They try to be strong for the mothers as well.

They tell them, you know, we're going to go and look for them again. That gives the mom's hope he said.

As the painful wait for answers stretches, the mayor and his wife remain in custody are yet to be charged and had yet to offer public comments.

Meanwhile, parents and their supporters have burned cars and government buildings in major city. Hoping to expose what they say are the deep roots of corruption in Southern, Mexico.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Such an incredible story. Rosa Flores joins me now.

I know there were more protest. Tonight, what's the mood there like?

FLORES: Well, you know, these demonstrations have become more and more radical just since we've arrived here in the Southern State of Guerrero. We've seen cars burned. The door of the National Palace burned.

And today, more than a thousand protestors attended on Acapulco and crippled the airport there for a few hours, not only canceling flights but here it is, loiters release video of the protesters beating a police officer.

And, you know, the President of Mexico Anderson has condemned the violence but if you ask the protesters, they say they condemned in action by government. Anderson?

COPPER: Rosa Flores, I appreciate the reporting. Thank you.

A quick reminder, make sure you set your DVR. You can watch 360 whenever you like.

Up next, we have new details about the secret mission to North Korea that secure the release of Americans Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller. Details on that ahead.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. Tonight Kenneth Bae and Matthew Miller are about 48 hours in reuniting with their families.

Over the weekend, the two Americans were freed by North Korea after secret mission by James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence.

Bae and Miller, are the last Americans known to be held in North Korea. Now according to the State Department, Clapper's district came after North Korea contacted the U.S. government unexpectedly about two weeks ago. They delivered a letter address to Kim Jong Un, but didn't meet with the North Korean leader.

U.S. officials credit China for helping secure the release. In Beijing today where he is attending a summit, President Obama talked about the successful mission.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Obviously, I'm incredibly thankful to James Clapper for the efforts that he made and I couldn't be happier for the families as we enter the holidays to know their loved ones are back.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Well, President Obama also said the release of Bae and Miller does not signal any kind of a fall in U.S. and North Korea relation, saying that can only happen if North Korea abandoned its nuclear weapons program.

Some analyst believe that a recent U.N. report documenting North Korea human rights abuses may have prompted the release of the Americans. The report, they say his trigger concerns that Kim Jong Un could face an indictment by the international criminal record.

Joining me once again Chief National Security Correspondent Jim Sciutto.

What's the latest we know about how and why the releases occur?

JIM SCIUTTO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, for the how, this was a very difficult and delicate piece of diplomacy. As you said, the North Koreans reached out. A couple of weeks ago they asked for a cabinet level official.

The Obama Administration taking a pretty clever move in sending the nation's top spy. He's not a diplomat, so you send a signal, this is not a broader negotiation about other things. He's a Korea expert and he lives the 16 U.S. intelligence agencies, many of which keep a very close eye on North Korea, its nuclear activities, a signal that you're watching.

But the why in addition to the pressure face by this International Criminal Court potential proceeding, I'm told by a number of diplomats in Beijing that right now North Korea also feeling the pressure in Beijing now. At the APEC Summit you have world leaders including President Obama, the Chinese president and others gathering.

And one thing the very much agree on is that North Korea needs to be dealt with -- its nuclear program dealt with, in very tough terms and that's something that a lot of ways the China has come around on in recent months and years to the U.S. point of view.

COOPER: Jim, stay with us.

I just want to bring the Former U.S. Ambassador to South Korea, as well as Iraq, Christopher Hill. He's the author of Outpost Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy, A Memoir.

Ambassador, thanks for being with us. I mean you know North Korea, you know the government there very well. You led the U.S. delegation, the six-party talks during the Bush Administration. What do you make of the timing of this release? Why now?

CHRISTOPHER HILL, FORMER U.S. AMBASSADOR TO S. KOREA, IRAQ: I think the North Koreans do want to influence the tone of the U.S.-China meeting especially the meeting of the part of the agenda dealing with North Korea. So I think the North Koreans were hoping that by doing this, the Chinese would be inclined and sort of cut them some slack and say, "Look, Americans, they've done something, you need to do something in response."

So I think it was an effort to kind of head off what Jim just describe, very accurately, is this kind of mood in the entire APEC meeting that something needs to be done about North Korea.

COOPER: And Jim talked about this a little bit but the fact that U.S. Senate, one of its most Senior Intelligence Officials, you say the North Koreans likely think they got someone who runs the U.S. government. Can you explain?

HILL: Well they -- yeah, they like that kind of thing. I mean, you know, they value the idea of, you know, people running intelligence, especially people running the CIA which they believe kind of runs the world.

So they would have been very happy with the idea of sending General Clapper. But I think for the administration's point of view as Jim accurately said, I think the -- everyone understands that General Clapper's a lot of things but his not a diplomat and his not there and negotiate something.

He probably read his talking points and his taciturn and (inaudible) as he could. So, I think everyone kind of benefited from the means by which they did that. But I would also talk the president at face value. When he said "Hey the holidays are coming over at please at this humanitarian gesture happened." The big problem that very much remains in everyone's mind is it Kim Jong Un has not shown the slightest interest in the nuclearization.

You know, his father kind of flirted with it, he kept the six-party processed going, he shutdown things, he disable things. Kim Jong Un has shown zero interest in this. And this is the big problem dealing with North Koreans going forward.

COOPER: Jim the -- there's the logistical question that emerge because apparently director Clapper's military plane have mechanical issues twice on the way in North Korea which caused a delay. Do you have any idea what would happen, had the plane actually broken down in North Korea?

SCIUTTO: Well it's exactly a problem if he and no one else diplomatic unity would want to face. I think that in the worse-case scenario you've to fly another plane in, right? Because you're not going to trust the North Koreans to repair it and you don't have a lot of commercial flight option out of there. This happen just a couple of weeks ago, few ago to Secretary State John Kerry.

His air force plane had some trouble but he was in Europe, he can easily take the commercial flight back. When you're in Pyongyang, you know, it's already a problem that he didn't want to face, he had to take two stops on the way there and he arrived a day late. He would not want to get broken down in Pyongyang.

COOPER: Ambassador, is there any reason to infer from this or be optimizing general that the North Koreans are going to change their way whether be human right, which is obviously a treacherous in North Korea, nuclear weapons. I mean they've release American before and nothing's change.

HILL: I think it's pretty clear of the North Koreans are not going in a good direction and I think it's very true that the rest of the world is kind of sick of them. Clearly the Obama administration has had no interest in just talking for talking sake, you know, the North Koreans have failed to follow up on any of their commitments made earlier, so they're probably having a look at this. But their going to be very opaque about it, you know, they consider opaqueness kind of national assets. So I don't think their going to signal it too much.

They would love for us to get into discussion with them, with the idea that were just too important countries and that they wouldn't then raise any inclination to move on the nuclear issue. So I think the U.S. has to continue to keep that in focus. And I surely hope that President Obama made that very clear the (inaudible) that we welcome this humanitarian gesture, but we need to really keep the North Korean feet to fire on nuclear issue.

COOPER: Yeah. Ambassador Christopher Hill, good to have you. Jim Sciutto as well.

Up next, was the head of ISIS killed or even wounded an air strike of the weekend. United States is not sure, Iraqi officials can't seem to agree in what happen, where or when even. We'll talk about that. Also a newly release videos as fire fighters battling a deadly fire in Arizona. Take a look.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Smoke hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hot.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Welcome back. The United States still is not certain about a claim from some Iraqi official that airstrikes took out or release injured the leader of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. Iraq defense minister says al-Baghdadi was wounded and his deputy was killed in air strike and Mosul Friday night.

There is conflicting information whoever coming from other Iraqi officials. Iraq's interior ministry for instance says al-Baghdadi was wounded in an air strike and on a different day and in a different town. So with the different account clearly there's skepticism on the analyst who track ISIS. Brian Todd has more in who al-Baghdadi is and who could possibly replace him.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT: He runs the terror group like a CEO with spreadsheet on the missions, assassination and captured assets. He's cultivated a reputation for viciousness, shrouded in secrecy. Except for one occasion a sermon in Mosul where he emerges from the shadows and flashing an expensive watch exhorted his followers.

ABU BAKR AL-BAGHDADI ISIS LEADER: You should take up jihad to pleased God and fight in his name.

TODD: Now, U.S. officials cannot confirm whether ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed or wounded in coalition airstrikes over the weekend.

How much trouble would they be without him?

LAUREN SQUIRES INSTITUTE FOR THE STUDY OF WAR: ISIS like we have the clear line of succession. This is your credit organization with a deep bench and either they have -- either Baghdadi has sign off on a line of succession himself or the Shura Council has agreed to a line of succession.

TODD: According to terrorism researchers Baghdadi has two principle deputies Abu Muslim al-Turkmani and Abu Ali al-Anbari. Turkmani overseas ISIS operation in Iraq, Anbari fills that roll in Syria.

PETER NEUMANN KING'S COLLEGE: These people who had previously served in Saddam Hussein army were extremely brutal because Saddam Hussein regime was very brutal. But they also inherited the disciplines and the military skills that are now benefiting ISIS in its campaign against its enemies. TODD: Analyst say Turkmani could make a strong case to take the reign of ISIS if Baghdadi is taken out.

NEUMANN: He also would have to have a lot about standing qualities either in the military field or in the political field and that's certainly make him a potential contender.

TODD: There's also 37 year old Abu Mohammad al-Adnani a Syrian, chief spokesman for ISIS who in September issued a call for ISIS supporters to launch lone wolf attacks. Analyst say some of Baghdadi's top deputies were in prison with him at Camp Bucca, a U.S. run detention center in Iraq where Baghdadi was held for at least four years.

SQUIRES: He was able to these individuals as sharing his ideology, sharing his hatred for the west.

TODD: Analyst Lauren Squires says, if or when Baghdadi is killed, look for some kind of retaliatory strike from ISIS against U.S. interest. She says they would do that to memorialize their martyred leader and to show the coalition that ISIS is still a major threat. Brian Todd, CNN, Washington.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: I want to talk more about this with former FBI Supervisory Special Agent Ali Soufan and retired Lieutenant General Mark Hertling, Commander of U.S. Forces in Iraq from 2007 to 2009. Ali, if al- Baghdadi is either killed or wounded, how big a blow to the organization of ISIS would this be?

ALI SOUFAN, FORMER FBI SUPERVISORY SPECIAL AGENT: It's going to be devastating for ISIS to recover from especially in the long run. Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is a person who branded the new organization that became ISIS. And he is unique because he is a common thread between the tribal factions, the Ba'athist and the Jihadists.

COOPER: So because there is this different factions, it's a difficult organization to control?

SOUFAN: Exactly and he is connected to this ray. He comes from a bigger tribe, he brought the Ba'thists to the organization and gave them most of the senior positions in the organization. Then he is very also well connected with the Jihadist as, you know, thousands of Jihadist from around the world went and get (inaudible).

COOPER: But is it a top down organization that he is calling all the shots? Or my understanding that it was somewhat more decentralized.

SOUFAN: It is decentralized, I mean he has many cabinets, he runs it as a company. There's people who handle the security, people who handle the assassinations, people who handle the military, people who handle finances and media and so forth. So, but however he is the leader of the organization, he is the Caliph of that Caliphate state the he established and many of these individuals go, you know, report up to him. So he is totally in charge of the organization, he is going to be very difficult to replace. ISIS won't be the same organization without him but I think ISIS will survive.

COOPER: General Herlting, how hard is it to actually target this guy? I mean, he's notoriously reclusive figure and on top of that the intelligence situation has obviously been less than optimal.

LT. GEN. MARK HERTLING, U.S. ARMY (RET.): With Baghdadi as the lead it's very different because he has proclaimed himself a Caliph. Even if he's injured that takes away some of the aura that he has. But in terms of targeting, this is extremely difficult because we don't have the intelligence sources on the ground to track his location and give us high value target list of the people who are associated with him. And you go even beyond that because he has made himself a hidden source.

He even -- doesn't meet with his own people when they know who he is in some cases. At least that's what the intelligence analysts are saying. This is a very difficult individual and the organization will suffer more than we've seen before when we've killed or captured leaders.

COOPER: Ali your organization actually put together a report on some of the links that Baghdadi goes to stay hidden?

SOUFAN: He's a very secretive individual and he has to in order to survive. I mean there is a guy, before he appeared in the famous speech in el-Mosul. He used to meet with the top leaders of the organization, and the only thing that they were told that al-Baghdadi is with us without them knowing who al-Baghdadi is.

COOPER: Oh really?

SOULFAN: So, even today when he moves, all the intelligence tell us that, you know, you don't even know that he's moving. He covers his face, he's wearing a mask. People don't know that they are dealing with him and that's after people know who he is and they know how he looks like.

COOPER: So even people in the organization who meet with him sometime, I mean up until really the video appears and even now somewhat they don't know who he is?

SOUFAN: No, no.

COOPER: So it's not that he is such a charismatic figure that...

SOUFAN: Well as we saw from his speech in Mosul, he is far away from being charismatic as they can be. I mean, he is not an Osama Bin Laden or he is not a Hassan Nasrallah like the leader of Hezbollah, he's a totally different individual. And yes, I mean he is extremely secretive, people don't know who he is and when they meet with him they have no idea they are meeting with al-Baghdadi. Only maybe the most senior in the organization, the members of the Shura Council, the head of his military, the head of intelligence, those are the people who know who he is but second tier leadership in the organization, until Mosul they didn't even know how he looks like.

COOPER: General Hertling, do you agree that ISIS would be a different organization without him but that it would survive?

HERTLING: I do and again reinforcing what Ali says, it's not only the aura about him as being a Caliph but is also the fact that he is so organizationally strong. He is not charismatic, from all the indicators, he does not have the charisma that really draws the fans to him, but he knows what he's doing. And that in itself in this culture is critically important because he gets things done. He drives people. He has management tools that are far beyond what we have seen in the past with some of the leaders of these kinds of organization.

COOPER: All right, General Hertling I appreciate being on, Ali Soufan as well. Thank you very much.

SOUFAN: Thank you.

COOPER: Up next an elite team of firefighters trapped in a massive fireball, there's new video that shows what the fire crew faced when they overcame - were overcome by the flames.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Well tonight newly released videos reveal what an elite team of firefighters faced when battling a massive Arizona wild fire. It was Sunday, June 30th, 2013 when 19 members the Granite Mountain Hotshots are engulfed by the flames and died. The new video shed light on what happened before and after the men were engulfed by the flames Dan Simon reports.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We need to get everybody out of here. We got fire coming across, you need to get them out.

DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: June 30th, 2013, 19 elite firefighters overtaken by flames near the small town of Yarnell, Arizona.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we're going to start some obstructions here at (inaudible).

SIMON: This video captured by other firefighters shows the intense 2,000 degree conditions of that massive fireball. And just as important it also captures some of the last radio communication from the group, moments before deploying their emergency shelters, a safety device of last resort to protect themselves from the heat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are preparing a deployment site, still burning out around ourselves, the brush and I'll give you a call when we are under the shelters.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK, we're working our way around there. We've got several aircraft coming to you, we'll see if we can take care of business for you.

SIMON: Then for several anxious minutes, fellow firefighters try to determine the group's whereabouts. UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Station Alpha, Bravo 33 on air jump.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So how long has it been?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don't know, 30 minutes.

SIMON: At that point the firefighters were likely all ready dead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on Granite let's here you talk here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's a long time.

SIMON: Fellow crews raced to find their location and as they feared found no survivors.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On scene,18 confirmed. Let's go ahead and obviously secure the area and we'll go from there. Two and just confirming no medical treatment needed at this time.

SIMON: Another body was later found, all but one member of the Mountain Granite Hotshots was killed. The lone survivor serving as the crew's lookout.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I miss my brothers.

SIMON: Brendan McDonough, a father who now travels the country to help other firefighters struggle with similar losses.

BRANDON MCDONOUGH, GRANITE MOUNTAIN HOTSHOT FIREFIGHTER: I'm happy that I get to spend time with my daughter, you know. I'm 22 and have so much to learn and I don't want to put what I've been given to waste. An opportunity to help others.

SIMON: An Arizona investigation found there was no negligence or recklessness on the part of the firefighters but it did reveal there was a communication problem that prevented an aircraft from dropping retardant. Now obviously the video doesn't show us an inside account of the unit but it is a sobering reminder that even the most seasoned professionals can be overtaken by dangerous conditions.

Dan Simon, CNN, San Francisco.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Incredible the sacrifices they make. We'll be right back.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time now for the Ridiculist. Since tonight we're talking about co-worker crimes, you know what I mean when people leave the break room a mess, won't stop talking when you're trying to work, that sort of thing. One of the most egregious offenses in a shared office space is best illustrated by this video which I actually haven't seen before now. Oh OK, that is actually my office, I did not know that. All right, I get it, it's the candle. I have a candle burning in my office. Oh really this is what the Ridiculist is about tonight? I should have read it ahead of time.

Apparently some like really - some of my co-workers do not like the way my candle smells? Men, this is cold, and you don't tell me, you let me read it on teleprompter. Wow, this is news to me, this is completely news to me. Here's another video, oh OK, extreme close up, isn't that fun. These videos all were apparently by our executive producer who's apparently also the Fellini of surreptitious office film making. I guess this one has the white background to show how strong the smoke is that wash from the candle into the news room, very clever.

Listen, first of all somebody told me that I smelled, that it was Kirk, my researcher told me that I smelled or my jeans smell because I don't wash them, so that's why I got the candle people. Anyway, it's a fancy basil scented candle, I will have you know, it cost a lot. It seemed like an obscene amount of money to me for a candle as well. I don't know if you know about candles they seemed to cost a lot of money. I think the smell is lovely. Here now is an abbreviated list of what my co-workers say my basil candle smells like. Wow, this is just -- you're all in trouble.

Some people say it smells like grandma's house. Some people say it smells like old mall, Italian salad, Woodstock vomit. I don't even know what that means. And garden gnomes underwear drawer. What?

Listen, I've been reading a lot about meditation lately, mindfulness and I've been trying. I'm attempting to create a serene space in my office. I thought it would be a pleasant change for my co-workers, better than the smell of the rotted cheese that's sitting out in the break table.

I get a candle and this is what happens, the staff treats me like I'm Brian Fantana, an Anchorman with the cologne.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BRIAN FANTANA, TITLE CHARACTER, ANCHORMAN: Its called sex panther by Odeon, it's illegal in nine countries. Yeah, it's made with bits of real panther, so you know it's good, it's quite pungent, oh yes. With a formidable scent, it stings the nostrils.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: God no, it smells like, like a used diaper filled with Indian foot, oh.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What is that? It smells like a turd covered in burnt hair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Smells like six foot (inaudible).

(END VIDE CLIP)

COOPER: All right, people just ponder this, what's the name of this program again, oh yes its AC 360, right? What does the AC stand for? Oh right it stands for Anderson Cooper, that's me. I don't like to say my name out loud because that sounds like I'm a politician talking about himself in the third person. Until this program is renamed anti-candle 360, I will do whatever I want to try to create a serene freaking office environment for my co- workers and myself to enjoy. I really don't know what they had against the scent of basil by the way. Here now are some more (inaudible), some more staff descriptions of my candle.

Dumpster ravioli, Mario Petrelli's (ph) crocs. OK, that I draw the line at. I mean those crocs must wreak and because he just needs to change his look, but there's no way my candle smells like Mario Petrelli's crocs. Someone else said it smells like a herb garden growing in a landfill. Someone said a brothel in Tuscany, I think that was Jack Ray.

And lastly better than the jeans Anderson insist on never washing. All right fine, that's what I call a burn on the Ridiculist. That's it I'm going to get rid of my candle and you can go back to the smell of rotted cheese. That does it for us, thanks for watching, ungrateful employees. CNN Tonight starts now.